Cincinnati Streetcar/Bell Connector
Award of Merit

Project Owner/Developer: City of Cincinnati
General Contractor/Construction Manager: Messer/Prus/Delta Railroad Joint Venture
Lead Design Firm: WSP USA
Structural Engineer: HDR
Civil Engineer: WSP USA
MEP Engineer: HDR
Design Architect/Architect of Record: DNK Architects
Survey: Berding Surveying

The Cincinnati Bell Connector streetcar is the nation’s first 100% low-floor system. The level boarding platform interface stretches across its entire 3.6-mile length to accommodate disabled passengers, bicyclists and strollers without ramps or lifts, making it one of the most accessible transit systems in the country.

The system provides direct access to key locations in the central business district and the historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood and facilitates connections for tourists, day-trippers and locals enjoying the neighborhood.

Manufactured by CAF, the streetcars hold up to 148 passengers each and serve 18 stops along the route in a shared right-of-way. Three 1-MW traction substations power the system’s single, overhead contact wire. The $71-million system helped more than half a million riders make their connections in its first seven months of operation.

Completed in late 2016, it has already inspired $950 million in private and public investment along the route since voters approved the project five years ago, with another $160 million in additional development on the horizon.

Cincinnati’s embrace of a new technological doesn’t come at the expense of the area’s historical significance. Countless historic buildings have been saved, and the design team incorporated historic elements of Over-the-Rhine into the maintenance facility’s design.

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